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The Buddha’s Teaching When a Beloved Disciple Passed Away

This beautiful sutta from the Pali canon tells the story of what happened after the beloved disciple and arahat Sariputta passed away.  Sariputta—(Sāriputta (Pāli) or Śāriputra (Sanskrit)—was a truly remarkable student of the Buddha’s, and along with Ananda, was considered his greatest pupil. As Nyanaponika Thera writes of him in The Life of Shariputra: “Shariputra..was […]

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Music and Poetry in Remembrance of the September 11th Attacks

On this day before the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, I want to share what I think is one of the most moving songs I’ve ever heard about this terrible event that broke our hearts and for a time united people all over the world in our common humanity. The song is called […]

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What is Our Life About? (poem and music)

Few dharma teachers speak to my heart as does Ezra Bayda. His books Being Zen: Bringing Meditation to Life and At Home in the Muddy Water: A Guide to Finding Peace Within Everyday Chaos came into my life when I really needed to learn more about the gentle wisdom of opening up to what is […]

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Whose Silence Are You? Thomas Merton Poem and Music

Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk who was well-known as a social activist, writer, and poet.  An deep student of comparative religion, Merton was a keen proponent of interfaith dialog.  He became close friends with prominent Eastern spiritual teachers, such as the Dalai Lama, D.T. Suzuki, and my own heart teacher, Vietnamese Zen Master Thich […]

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Thich Nhat Hanh – “Contemplation” – Poem and Music

Contemplation A Poem by Thich Nhat Hanh Since the moon is full tonight, let us call upon the stars in prayer. The power of concentration, seen through the bright, one-pointed mind, is shaking the universe. All living beings are present tonight to witness the ocean of fear flooding the Earth. Upon the sound of the […]

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Song and Message for those Alone or Bereft on Thanksgiving

As I do every year, I offer this song, “By Way of Sorrow,” to all those who may be alone this Thanksgiving, without family and friends—or maybe even without hope. Please don’t give up! There is a way “home.” The first step may be hope and trust in our own innate capacity to change, to […]

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D. H. Lawrence-Song of a Man Who Has Come Through

Song of a Man Who Has Come Through by D.H. Lawrence Not I, not I, but the wind that blows through me! A fine wind is blowing the new direction of Time. If only I let it bear me, carry me, if only it carry me! If only I am sensitive, subtle, oh, delicate, a […]

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Kahlil Gibran-A Tear and a Smile

A Tear and a Smile By Khalil Gibran I would not exchange the sorrows of my heart For the joys of the multitude. And I would not have the tears that sadness makes To flow from my every part turn into laughter. I would that my life remain a tear and a smile. A tear […]

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Kabir-“I Said To The Wanting-Creature Inside Me”-Poem and Music

Here is another beautiful poem from the Indian mystic and poet Kabir. It’s called “I Said To The Wanting-Creature Inside Me.”  May this poem, and the music that follows it, inspire you to empty your life of whatever would keep you from the happiness of being truly present in what you are! I Said To […]

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The Karaniya Metta Sutta and Healing Through Loving-kindness (with Music)

Over the years, I have collected many wonderful translation of the Metta Sutta, the Buddha’s sutta (sutra) on loving-kindness. But of all of them, I believe this one, from the Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery, is my favorite. I have it printed out and taped to my wall, and I often turn to it for inspiration.  I […]

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Thich Nhat Hanh-Kiss the Earth-Poem and Music

Kiss The Earth Walk and touch peace every moment. Walk and touch happiness every moment. Each step brings a fresh breeze. Each step makes a flower bloom. Kiss the Earth with your feet. Bring the Earth your love and happiness. The Earth will be safe when we feel safe in ourselves. by Thich Nhat Hanh […]

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Memorial Day 2010-Poem and Song for Young Men Who Died

Here Dead We Lie A. E. Housman Here dead we lie Because we did not choose To live and shame the land From which we sprung. Life, to be sure, Is nothing much to lose, But young men think it is, And we were young. Click here to hear “Let Them In” by John Gorka: […]

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Kabir-“The Time Before Death”-Poem and Music

Although my path is not the path of theism, I have greatest respect for those who follow this path with love, integrity, and compassion. My own teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh, has always sought an ecumenical approach with various spiritual traditions: See: Thich Nhat Hanh on Buddhism, Mindfulness, and the Holy Spirit Buddha and Christ—Let the […]

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Rumi Poem-“Quietness” and “No Longer Mourn for Me” (music)

As balm for your hearts and minds, I offer this poem by the Sufi poet Rumi and some exquisite music from Ensemble Galilei on their album Come, Gentle Night – Music of Shakespeare’s World. Quietness Inside this new love, die. Your way begins on the other side. Become the sky. Take an axe to the […]

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The Sufi Mystic and the Punjabi Rock Musician (audio)

From time to time, I like to share insights from other traditions to broaden the scope of Metta Refuge.  I am quite fond of the Sufi mystics and poets, such as Rumi: Rumi—Learn the Alchemy True Human Beings Know Taking Care of Our Heart Donkey This Being Human is a Guest House Today, I want […]

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